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Background Checks: Bad for Candidates

 Yesterday, The Oklahoman published the results of background checks they performed on every candidate running for state or federal office this year.  By background check, I mean they searched each candidates name on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network website, then requested a comment from any candidate whose legal troubles consisted of anything remotely scandalous.  Since, in the end, democrats looked worse then republicans, they didn't spike the story.

The results were fairly awesome--especially considering the source.

Here are some highlights:


Of the twenty-five candidates who were tagged for further study, twenty had financial issues.  With so many people running for public office who failed to pay their taxes, mortgages, or debts in general, it is a good thing that fiscal policy is not a major issue this year.

My favorite candidate to show up on the list is Steven Covert.  He lost a house in Wisconsin and ran several businesses that went under.  Also he's a CPA, so you would think he would do better with money.  His prospective office?  He's the democratic nominee for State Treasurer.  How comforting is it to hear a guy wanting to control the state's purse strings say, "They took the house, but I didn't care."


We have already poked fun at incumbent Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields who was arrested for drunkenly stealing a guitar from a cross-dressing singer at a rodeo.  Seriously, that happened.  He told The Oke that the incident was a joke, which is certainly true now even if it wasn't then.  The bigger issue with Fields' background check is that he owes $26,000 in child support which he claims is not a debt of his.  Instead, he wants the court to believe his ex-wife verbally agreed that he should not have to pay the support.  Exes are always willing to make sacrifices like that, right?

Of course, his republican counterpart isn't exactly clean.  Mark Costello has had issues paying his taxes--a crime that cost former Speaker of the House Lance Cargill his post.


Speaking of Costello, eight candidates have been sued for tax delinquency.  One was so angry about the issue that he bellowed out this manifesto:

The government is making it almost impossible to do business...We keep saying we're a business-friendly state and we are not and it gets worse every year.  There's a big scramble from every state agency now to find as much money any place they can and it's anti-business, big time.  We got to get smarter because they're putting us out of business, all of us.

That's, like, the ultimate in Tea Party rhetoric.  So, you can understand why I was shocked to learn that it was Pawnee democrat Rodger Ensign that spouted it off.  In fact, the democrats really seemed to be more anti-tax than their republican co-parts.  The breakdown of tax cheats was five dems, two repubs, and one independent.  Perhaps the reason conservatives are so anti-tax is that they are the schmucks who actually pay their bill.


Senate candidate Mike Kelly, from Choctaw, plead guilty to driving with an open container in 2000.  When the paper asked him about it, he used the old standby of claiming he could not recall the incident.  Of course, he could confirm that the birth date, address, and social security number of the Mike Kelly who was arrested for drinking and driving matched his own.

I'm not denying it was me.  I just don't remember that.  I know that sounds crazy.

I'm not Karl Rove--and I will punch you in the ear for saying I am--but if I were a campaign manager, I would probably be upset at my candidate for using the term "crazy" when referring to themselves.  Then again, this election cycle seems to be invoking that term more often than republicans word vomited "faith," "family," and "freedom" in 2006.  So, maybe it is part of his strategy.


Stillwater's democratic representative Cory Williams, not this Corey Williams, was tagged by The Oklahoman for having received ten traffic tickets, including eight for speeding, since 1997 when he became age of majority.  That means he very likely could have been hit with more when he was a new driver.  Cory, probably fairly, does not believe his driving record affects his ability to represent his constituency--especially the constituents with NASCAR stickers on their back window.


House incumbent Wallace Collins, a democrat from Norman, apparently shoots off at the mouth.  Two juries have awarded his political opponents $127,000, including $45,000 to a member of his own party (which was later reversed on appeal).  So, when Collins tells you that Aaron Stiles has gonorrhea contracted from livestock, it might be worth doing some fact checking.  Of course, based on his district, he might have simply lied about his opponents possessing OSU season tickets.


Randy Terrill, the state's go to guy for pushing racist legislation, is battling corruption charges to go with the bankruptcy he was caught hiding assets from.  He should be an easy mark to take out...except, his opponent, Amy Corley also appears to have financial issues as her house is being foreclosed.  No word on whether a former news anchor is responsible for her problems.

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